The Atlantic province of Nova Scotia is a popular choice for newcomers looking to move to Canada. Halifax, the capital city, accounts for nearly 85 per cent of all jobs in Nova Scotia. Overall, newcomers make up over six per cent of Nova Scotia’s population and a vast majority of immigrants (71 per cent) who move to Nova Scotia make it their permanent home.
To meet its growing labour needs, the province welcomes newcomers with in-demand skills to settle in Nova Scotia as Permanent Residents (PR) through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP).
This resource provides an overview of the job market in Nova Scotia, including its key industries, in-demand occupations for newcomers, and median wage estimates, so you can arrive prepared to start your career in Canada.
In this article:
- What are the top industries in Nova Scotia?
- Which cities have the most job opportunities in Nova Scotia?
- Which jobs are in demand in Nova Scotia?
- What is the minimum wage in Nova Scotia?
- What is the unemployment rate in Nova Scotia?
- How can I move to Nova Scotia?
As you plan your move to Canada, choosing a province to settle down in is a huge decision. While the job market is an important factor to keep in mind, be sure to also research the local culture, major cities in each province, spoken languages, and cost of living in the region. Arrive’s Newcomer Guide to Canada’s Provinces and Territories is a great starting point.
- Services industry: The services sector employs over three-fourth of the workforce in Nova Scotia. Key service industries include wholesale and retail trade, health care and social assistance, education, professional and technical services, accommodation and food services, finance and real estate, construction, and transportation.
- Manufacturing industry: Some of the key manufacturing industries in Nova Scotia include automotive supplies, plastics, metal fabrication, defence, pharmaceuticals and medical technology.
- Agriculture, forestry, and mining: The agriculture and agri-food industry in the province creates over 12,000 jobs. The province is also Canada’s largest seafood exporter. Nova Scotia’s mines produce gold, quartz, gypsum, building stone, coal, and salt.
- Halifax: The capital city of Halifax is home to nearly half of the province’s population. In addition to the primary industries of agriculture, mining, and natural gas extraction, the city also has industries like IT and digital services, financial services, food and beverage processing, aerospace and automotive manufacturing.
- Cape Breton: The second largest city with a population of just over 130,000, Cape Breton offers employment opportunities in the agri-food and aquaculture, tourism, energy, transportation, and arts and culture sectors.
|Want to learn about the scope of your profession in Canada?
Find valuable information on career paths, required credentials, and the hiring process in your field in our Canadian Job Market Guide.
The in-demand jobs have been compiled based on in-demand and priority occupations identified in the latest Provincial Nominee Programs and NOCs selected in recent PNP draws. The occupations listed in the sections below are not exhaustive and are subject to change as the labour market needs evolve.You can also use the Government of Canada’s Job Bank portal to conduct a trend analysis of average wages, eligibility criteria, and job requirements for your occupation in a particular city or province.
Service sector jobs in Nova Scotia
- Food and beverage servers (NOC 6513): These in-demand jobs pay a median wage of $14 CAD per hour.
- Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711, 6731): Support occupations in the food and accommodation services typically pay between $12 CAD and $13 CAD per hour.
- Early childhood educators and assistants (NOC 4214): Early childhood educators in Nova Scotia make around $17 CAD per hour.
Health care jobs in Nova Scotia
- Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413): Nurses aides and orderlies earn a median wage of $17.95 CAD per hour in Nova Scotia.
- General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112) and specialist physicians (NOC 3111): Most health care professionals, including doctors, require a provincial licence to practice. Newcomer physicians typically need to sit for a qualifying exam before they can work in Nova Scotia.
Manufacturing and construction jobs in Nova Scotia
- Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511): These in-demand occupations pay a median wage of $20 CAD per hour.
- Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521): Equipment operators earn a median income of $21 CAD per hour.
- Construction trades helpers and labourers (NOC 7611): Construction labourers and helpers earn between $15 CAD and $18 CAD per hour.
| Ready to start applying to jobs in Canada?
Find tips and resources on creating a Canadian-style resume, searching for jobs, networking, and interview preparation in Arrive’s Newcomer’s Guide to Finding Your Career in Canada.
The minimum wage in Nova Scotia as of April 1, 2021 is $12.95 CAD per hour.
In October 2021, Nova Scotia had an unemployment rate of 8.5 per cent.
If you’re planning to work in Nova Scotia temporarily, you may be able to qualify for a work permit if your skills align with the province’s in-demand occupations. Many newcomers also choose to gain valuable Canadian experience or study in Canada first and then apply for permanent residency to settle in Canada.
Want to learn more about living in Nova Scotia?
Check out our province-specific resources for more information:
- Provincial spotlight: Introduction to Nova Scotia for newcomers
- How to apply for a health card in Nova Scotia
- How to get a driver’s licence in Nova Scotia
- Understanding your rights as a tenant in Nova Scotia
- The school system in Nova Scotia